Lighthouse Letters
By Sharma Krauskopf

This is an article by Sharma Krauskopf from Michigan who fell in love with Scotland - and decided to buy a lighthouse keepers' cottage at Eshaness, a remote location in Shetland, in the far north of Scotland and live there each winter. These pages were previously part of the "Scottish Radiance e-magazine Web site which was created by Sharma.

A Celtic Soul Wants to Go to Scotland

About a year ago one of my reader's created a remarkable term. The term is "Celtic Soul." A Celtic Soul being someone who loves Scotland but may not live or in fact have ever been there. My friend, Moira Kerr, named her new CD "Celtic Soul" as a result of an article I wrote about Celtic Souls who were the readers of the magazine I was writing for at the time. (If you click on the graphic you will see a larger version on a separate page). I would imagine the majority of you reading this story are "Celtic Souls." I know I am. My three trips a year to Scotland cannot make me a native. If you are wondering why the title since all Celtic Souls want to go to Scotland, let me tell you my tale.

My husband and I are retiring to Scotland. We want a lighthouse keeper's accommodation somewhere on the deserted coast of the country. Last month we went through a very difficult experience trying to buy just such a place. In the four years we have been searching for our lighthouse home the Scots we have come across have been helpful and supportive. Sure, some of my Scottish friends think we are nuts to want to live in such an isolated place but they respect our desire. For the first time in the four years we met resistance and even resentment in Scotland.

I know there are people in Scotland who do not want "Outlanders" or "Foreigners." I have found if they feel that way they are even more resentful of a "Celtic Soul" who wants to buy a piece of the country's history. In making our offer for the last lighthouse we confronted people who felt very negatively about Celtic Soul's invading their country. We found a solicitor who did everything possible not to be cooperative. In fact that solicitor ended up representing the person who obtained the property. We hired a surveyor who did only half a job and told us straight out not to buy the property. (All done under the umbrella of wanting to be helpful.) The only way we were finally able to bid on the property was to go to another part of Scotland where people had helped us before. Our new solicitor was notified by the estate agents that our bid was "unacceptable." When I called the estate agent to see why our bid was not accepted I expected to hear the other party paid a higher price. The answer I received was for "professional reasons" he could not tell me anything except it was not price. So be it. It was over and we had lost.

I was angry and very hurt at first to have been dealt with so cruelly by people who are lucky enough to live in the country I wanted to share. Time has healed my raw feelings. Now I am trying hard to understand from their perspective why they would not want us. There have been horrible incidents where Americans or Brits have run the prices for property up so Scots could not buy. Friends have told me stories how, once there, they insist the "incomers" ways are best. The "Ugly American" syndrome which we all have experienced who have traveled internationally.

Celtic Souls are different. They love everything about Scotland. It is their desire to cherish its customs and to learn the language. Hours are spent listening to the music. They come to Scotland not to change but to embrace the way of life. They are coming to an adopted home which they love. This Celtic Soul wants to go to Scotland and will. This morning once again I was on the telephone with a new estate agent and our Southwest Scotland solicitor preparing for bids on two more lighthouse properties. I share this little story not to discourage all Celtic Souls from wanting to move to Scotland. It is important to know we are not wanted by "all" Scots. I was discriminated against in the last bid because I was a Celtic Soul and not born in Scotland. That is a fact and one I will live with.

As I sit here looking at a beautiful picture we took on a ferry trip on a misty morning to look at an Islay lighthouse I know defeat is only temporary. The beautiful voice of Ishbell MacAskill in the background urges me on since my spirit will not rest until this Celtic Soul is living in Scotland.

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Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

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